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August 29, 2014

Chuck: Chuck Versus The Third Dimension

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 2nd 2009 9:25PM
Chuck 3D

(S02E12)
"The cell is mightier than the sword, or the very large knife." -- Chuck

There were some funny bits in this episode of Chuck. There were also some good bits of plot development. Still, for what was being promoted as a spotlight show, including the novelty of 3-D, it's hard for me to sing the praises of tonight's episode. It just left a lot to be desired. What it did leave me with is a headache.

Before getting into the particulars, let's get the 3-D thing out of the way. It was terrible. Joel wrote about this a few days ago, and he was right. The 3-D glasses were cumbersome and lame. They also seemed too dark because instead of the effects popping, they just seemed murky and dim. I give NBC credit for trying to think outside the box, but 3-D is not the answer for how to make TV viewing more exciting. Compared to high-def, 3-D is not awesome, just annoying.

The writers were not inspired by the idea of expanding the storytelling into the third dimension. Like most 3-D films, characters lunged or threw things at the camera. The depth of field in the shots were negligible. So in the dream/nightmare scene at the beginning, it was hard to get caught up in Sarah's climbing over Chuck in bed. The depth of field just had me questioning why Chuck only sleeps on half the bed.

What was more important about that scene was that it illustrated Chuck's confusion about Sarah's lethal abilities after having seen her shoot another agent in cold blood in the last episode. Fortunately, before the end of the show, they talked it out and Chuck realized that Sarah's job includes making difficult choices. Choices, ironically, is what Chuck doesn't have. That's what Sarah comes to realize by show's end, that he is not the Intersect by choice and, therefore, when he whines about having/needing a day off, he's not in the wrong. Of course, when finally given a time-out, Chuck chooses to tag-along.

Lost actor Dominic Monaghan was the guest star, rocker Tyler Martin who is making an appearance at the Buy More. Naturally, Chuck's eyeballs roll into the back of his head and an assassin appears to get Tyler leading to the plot -- such as it was -- to protect the rocker. Monaghan was very Charlie-like, and my favorite moment was when he said, "I've never really been in a situation like this before, life or death. I've pretty much lived my life avoiding anything that's real." If that wasn't a shout-out to his Lost character, I don't know what would be.

The Buy More storyline, including a guest turn by Jerome Bettis, former NFL star and current NBC sports commentator, was silly. For Morgan's triathalon, the contestants had to take part in competitive eating and touch a urinal cake. The latter was beyond Jeff's ken.

On the other end of the spectrum, Casey and Sarah searching for the bad guy at the club, when he had dozens of lookalikes wearing the same outfit was smart and funny, like the scene from The Thomas Crown Affair in the museum.


Chuck' Show & Cast Photos
    CHUCK Adam Baldwin as Major John Casey stars in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Adam Baldwin as Major John Casey stars in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Michael Clarke Duncan as Colt and Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker star in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski and Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker star in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski and Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker star in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski, Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker and Michael Clarke Duncan as Colt star in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski stars in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski stars in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski and Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker star in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker stars in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC

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ChrisG

I'm a lazy a*s, so I'll just copy my post from CliqueClack ;):

I'm late to the party, but let me add that this was craptacular for me...

Even if I had gotten the glasses, the fact that I only have one good eye (nerve damage on the other one, ~20% sight maybe), the two-coloured glasses wouldn't have worked for me! So I had to watch without glasses, but I couldn't make it through the episode as I got a headache from the crappy picture quality.

I have the first season of Chuck on DVD, but if they don't put the 2D version of this episode on their Season 2 DVD, I'm refusing to buy it and will torrent the other "normal" episodes in HD instead, without any feelings of guilt...

February 04 2009 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
philly_phenom

I actually liked the 3D - the color was much better than other 3D movies I've seen (Journey to Center of the Earth was completely washed out in 3D).

There weren't to many objects flying out - which was fine with me as I'm not big on the gimmickry. I just liked having depth perception added.

February 04 2009 at 11:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Boomstick

Each episode is getting progressively worse. Let us all hope that this was the summit of predictability and uninteresting plots. Chuck has boiled down to the predictability of The A-team, with a few pathetic attempts at channeling the bumbling antics of Don Knotts. The characters have become uninteresting, and the best part of each episode has become the hijinx at the BuyMore.

I predict that a spinoff of Morgan and others would garner more viewers than a half naked Sarah, over the top Casey, and the bumbling Chuck.

I had such high hopes for this show but I am now considering deleting it from my dvr.

February 03 2009 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nathanael

I actually thought that this episode was free of some of the dumber "ooh, let's throw things at the screen in 3D!" gags I was expecting, so that was nice. That being said, I definitely enjoyed the episode less because I was so distracted with getting the darn glasses to work right. The coloring and brightness of the picture was annoying as well.

Aside from the 3D bit, the episode was okay, but not great. Monaghan was great, but some of the plot felt more contrived (than usual).

I did catch the "NO TOUCHING!" line. I was laughing out loud at "The Final Countdown" too, but I couldn't tell whether it was an AD reference or not.

February 03 2009 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
EbonyDad

Are they going to have a non-3D repeat of the episode?

February 03 2009 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
spg28

I've noticed that anytime one of the networks has the chance to highlight the awesomeness of critically adored but little watched shows, they get too gimicky/sitcomy and ruin the opportunity. The Office ep that aired after the Superbowl and the HIMYM with Britney Spears are two examples of this. Chuck is the latest one. I love the show, I loved the Schwartz-tastic pop culture references to Shawshank and Arrested Development, but this episode as a whole was the worst one of the season.

February 03 2009 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ric Kaysen

I wasn't impressed with the 3D offerings during the Superbowl. I had friends over for the game and got the glasses ahead of time, but sitting at a normal distance from the TV (Large LCD HD), I didn't see anything worth hassling with those uncomfotable, cardboard glasses for. I tried again with Chuck and discovered that watching up close, like a foot away, it made a huge difference. It really did look three dimensional, but who watches TV that way? Not only were the glasses a pain, but now I'm kneeling on the floor with my nose up against the set, probably getting cancer, just to get the effect. Not worth the trouble. Please; no more 3D episodes.

February 03 2009 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan

Honestly, I have never watched a 3D episode of any show that wasn't its worst ever. The skip the normal plot development and character development for stupid sight gags to "use" the 3d. Of course, most of us don't just have a pair of 3D glasses lying around (and even if we did, an hour long show in cardboard glasses is asking a bit too much of the audience) so the episode is just blurry with weird colors and has the characters making all their movements at the camera for some reason. Then there was the moronic addition of Jerome Bettis (though I did like the Shawshank Redemption call-out there) as an obvious tie-in to the Super Bowl and you can see why NBC is failing. They have these good shows that are starting to build an audience, then NBC steps in and forces them to do all these stupid things for their little "theme nights". They are always the worst episodes and never feel right at all. I could have liked the episode, but the 3D and Jerome Bettis parts really took away from it and made it nearly unwatchable. NBC Sucks. Their shows are good...but they suck.

February 03 2009 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dan's comment
RevJonathan

You couldn't be more right.

NBC is trying to get back into the game with gimmicks and not quality. I'm watching this right now without 3d glasses and it's terrible. I looked and couldn't find any.

They just need to stick to what worked back in the day. Quality programming. Make sure what you have is better than the others. If you want to be ahead of the curve, use the internet better.

All that said. I absolutely must see that scene with Sarah in 3d.

February 03 2009 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Argus

I thought that the story was quite good, and although the damage done to video quality annoyed me, I got over it.

8/10

February 03 2009 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul

Apparently the normal episode will be on NBC.com (along with the 3D one). Living in Canada, I had no chance to even get the 3D glasses (that I was aware of, anyway), so I tried to use some old ones that I had stashed away from years ago. Unfortunately, while they red-blue shades of yesteryear did bring certain scenes out like they should, they also made things painfully dark and colourized incorrectly -- plus, with the old glasses, parts were just as blurry as without glasses at all. Sure would've been nice to check it out with the proper glasses to see if it was worth it (though I think unless I had a 60-inch TV or sat 4 feet from the screen, it wouldn't have mattered anyway).

Interesting idea that went outside of the box (a rarity for NBC), but overall a disappointment.

February 03 2009 at 4:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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